Posts Tagged ‘Brent’s songs’

New original song: “Life Is Good”

August 4, 2011

No, I didn’t intentionally create a song that sounds like that famous T-shirt company, but clichés are often true. This one certainly is. Theologian and poet Rowan Williams, who also happens to be the archbishop of Canterbury, said it better than me recently:

God’s act in creating the world is gratuitous, so everything comes to me as a gift. God simply wills that there shall be joy for something other than himself. That is the lifeblood of what I believe.

As usual, for better or worse, all guitars, bass, and vocals were by yours truly. Percussion was provided by GarageBand. Click the play button below or click here to download an .mp3.

New song: “Vanish Into Air”

April 11, 2011

An entry from the inside cover of my eighth grade yearbook. At 13, music was my life. Paul, a fellow traveler, was really into Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears. We often argued about music, but I respected his passion!

I’m posting a new song I wrote and recorded called “Vanish Into Air.” It includes the following reminiscence about being a teenager: “Had a dream, I’m back at the old school/ To prove myself again back there/ The only thing I did the first time ’round was vanish into air.” If that seems a little bleak, it’s because I was trying to write a Smiths song, except I hardly know the Smiths apart from The Queen Is Dead, and I couldn’t play and sing like that if I tried. (Everything I write sounds hopelessly mid-’70s.) What appeals to me about the young Morrissey is how happy he seems about being miserable.

Anyway, high school wasn’t as bad as all that. I did, however, feel invisible most of the time—alienated, uncomfortable in my skin, unable to be confident in my own voice (which is partly why the theme of The King’s Speech appealed to me so much). My musical heroes spoke for me, though. They saw the world the way I saw it. They got me, even if no one else did. That’s how I felt, at least—I still do to some extent!

I discovered Dylan in 1985, which changed my life, and his last verse from “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” said it all for me:

And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’

It seems like my whole life has been, in part, a struggle to “know my song well”—this song of life that God has given me to sing. I don’t think my song is better than most people’s, but at least it’s my own. No one can sing it like me, for better or worse!

I’ll say more about my early interest in music later. In the meantime, enjoy the song. I sang and played all instruments—although I played the drums on a MIDI-keyboard.

(The other original songs I’ve posted on the blog can be found here.)

New song I wrote and recorded: “Love Comes Around Again”

August 11, 2010

Here’s an optimistic little song I wrote and recorded about not giving up on love—which means, of course, not giving up on God, either. It’s called “Love Comes Around Again.” The standard apologies apply: It’s a completely homemade affair. For better or worse, I sing and play all instruments. I produced it using Apple’s amazing (and free!) GarageBand software.

The line that includes the words “heart is like a wheel” is lifted (with love) from the great Paul McCartney song, “Let Me Roll It.” In that song—pondering the ineffability of romantic love—McCartney sings, “I can’t tell you how I feel/ My heart is like a wheel/ Let me roll it to you…”

I apologize a little for the vagueness of “things get better” and “no matter what they say.” (What things? Nearly anything that matters! Who are they? Many, many people!) But in my experience it’s true. Thank God! We are not the sole authors of our lives in this world. I can look at my own history and see God’s fingerprints all around.

The point is, God has given me every reason to be optimistic. If our own particular dreams don’t work out as we planned, God gives us bigger and better dreams—if we could only learn to dream them with God.

[Click the play button to listen or click here to download the mp3. If your browser’s built-in audio player doesn’t let you save the file, then try right-clicking the link above.]

New song: “Forty and Fine”

April 19, 2010

A detail from Elisa's birthday poster: Yes, I'm over the hill.

(Click here to download the .mp3.)

I wrote this song after I turned 40 in February. Forty is a nice round number—the official beginning of middle age. It’s a number that affords taking stock of one’s life, surrendering to the temptation to ask, “Where am I now? What have I accomplished? What do I have to show for these four decades on earth?” Life begins at 40, some well-intentioned friends consoled me. Yeah, right! John Lennon was dead at 40—and look at what he had accomplished by then!

Regret is the devil. Former Mr. Might-Have-Been, would you please make friends with the skin you’re in?

In my sermon yesterday, I said the following: Read the rest of this entry »

New Song: “The Man Who Sold the World”

December 30, 2009

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” – G.K. Chesterton

I spent a couple of days around Christmas writing and recording this rather confessional song called “The Man Who Sold the World.” (Press the play button below or click here to open in a separate window.)

I had in mind Jesus’ words from Mark 8:36-37 (and parallels): “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The person who “sells” the world, in other words, is the one who exchanges the world’s superficial pleasures and values for a life in God. I greatly admire the person who can do it, but I’m sympathetic with Chesterton’s words above. I have a strong conviction that Jesus’ way is the way to true life, and I’ve experienced it, however fleetingly, in fits and starts, on this side of eternity, but it’s incredibly difficult to live out. I want to do it, but it’s a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment struggle. Fortunately, God’s grace prevails: “You are not the sum of your mistakes/ What breaks you is a blessing/ If you could see it from God’s eyes.” Read the rest of this entry »

A song I wrote: “My Own Worst Critic”

November 18, 2009

I’ve struggled for most of my life with a small, nagging, hyper-critical voice in the back of mind that too often criticizes my words and actions: “You’re doing this wrong… No one cares what you have to say… People don’t like you…” No, it’s not a literal voice! I’m just susceptible to thoughts and feelings that lead to self-doubt. I suspect many of you can relate. By God’s grace, I’m learning to tune that voice out, and it’s not as loud as it once was. About six months ago I wrote and recorded a song about it called “My Own Worst Critic.” I’m going to play it with the Vinebranch band on Friday but readers of this blog can get a special sneak preview. (Ha!) Click the link below.

My Own Worst Critic

The words are as follows:

Read the rest of this entry »